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Martin has 'Fr Ted moment' with off-colour remarks about China

HIS demeanour is being compared to a parish priest -- and Micheal Martin had his own Father Ted moment yesterday.

Not content with leading a party that is currently scraping the bottom of the rice bowl, the Fianna Fail leader decided to insult China on the day when it was named the second greatest economic superpower in the world, after the US.

Unleashing his political incorrectness, Micheal performed a poor impersonation of a Chinese accent -- with a bit of a Cork inflection thrown in for good measure.

Speaking at an information technology conference in Dublin, Mr Martin said that when he was a minister, Chinese businesspeople and officials would say to him: "You Irish, very good at software."

Needless to say, the mimicry drew a number of unwelcome comparisons for Micheal, including with Prince Philip, Queen Elizabeth II's husband.

'Phil the Greek' is notorious for drawing on some of the worst stereotypes of the nations of the world.

Given he decided to pick on the Chinese, Micheal was also compared to Dermot Morgan's Father Ted, after a celebrated episode of the comedy series where the hapless Craggy Island priest is inadvertently branded a racist.

Coincidentally, yesterday Green Party deputy leader Mary White wrote to the leaders of the five political parties calling for an all-Party approach "on racism and xenophobia".

And the Labour Party's enterprise spokesman Willie Penrose set out his plan to drive exports to China.

Of course there are similarities between the Communist Party in China and Fianna Fail in their approach to clinging to power. But those comparisons will end next weekend.

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